Redwoods in Redwood National Park

Lost Monarch Coast Redwood #6

Height 321.5 ft. and Trunk Diameter 25.26 ft.

Continued from: Coast Redwood Main Page

 

Copyright 2009 - 2017 by Mario Vaden

 

Lost Monarch in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is among the 20 largest known coast redwoods. From 2014 - 2017, various new redwood titans were found including Grogan's Fault, Jupiter and other, which exceed Lost Monarch in total volume or diameter. The new redwood discoveries exceed Lost Monarch whether we compare fused, multiple or single trunks. See the related page about trunks Fusion vs. Confusion. Considering two news stories and signs place by parks, my Grove of Titans page includes directions now.

I list this as approximately 6th largest on account of new discoveries and other reports like Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast by Robert Van Pelt. The big sprouts from the ground against the main trunk are basically extra trees. Some people refer to them as fusions but it's certain included bark is wedged between the trunks, and for this redwood, calling the big extra stem a fusion is a stretch of expression. Continue reading after this first image ...

 




Giant Redwood Lost Monarch in Grove of Titans with Kiera Hulsey and photographer Mario Vaden



 

 

When first discovered by Dr. Steve Sillett and Michael Taylor in May, 1998, the trunk's preliminary measure was close to 26' diameter at dbh. A scientific study reported 25.26' diameter dbh which seems to exclude an extra trunk on the side. Lost Monarch's lowest twigs almost touch the ground which is very unusual among the largest coast redwoods. The crown of branches and foliage stretches about 320 ft. top to bottom, and in that regard, surpasses the crown of Hyperion or Redwood Creek Giant, two of the tallest known coast redwoods.

The second photo below shows a bright gap of sky and space between the large stem and another small redwood stem. When I reviewed the April 2012 photo again during March 2016, it really hit home how correct Van Pelt was when he referred to the big sprout as a second redwood. In the same grove, Del Norte Titan formed from three stems, becoming a huge triple fusion where the air gaps and included bark vanished from sight, leaving inconspicuous clues that hardly anybody will find or notice.

Michael Taylor, co-discoverer, noted that the sprout (s) account for at least 6,000 cu. ft.. When only the main trunk and it's reiterated wood overhead are included the real volume is closer to 36,500 cu. ft.. Measurements by researchers showed the main trunk's actual volume between 34,000 and 35,000 cu. ft. Regardless, this is an exceptionally old and remarkable coast redwood.

Some people tout the wood volume at 42,500 cubic feet by adding 6,000 cu. ft. from a separate basal redwood emerging at ground level. You can see it in the photos. There's actually several sucker redwoods shown, some much smaller.

There's been some scuttlebutt that Sillett observed branches in the crown above 200 feet being killed by forest fire in the past and that new branches sprouted from the main stem. That would connote the crown as it exists came from epicormic sprouts. But I recall asking Sillett, and that's not exactly the story behind its shape and crown.

There are over 40 reiterated stems overhead accounting for about 400 cu. ft. The diameter of the largest single branch is 3.2 ft.. Hefty indeed, but smaller than Chesty Puller's largest branch diameter in the same grove. Once again, this shows how much interesting individuality belongs to each of the giant coast redwoods.

The base of the redwood on the ground is nearly 30' wide. Researcher Dr. Robert Van Pelt described it as "vaulting" out of the earth like a "volcano". Some of the roots are visible almost 100 feet away in boggy soil nearby. Like El Viejo del Norte and Del Norte Titan, Lost Monarch is located in the forest on the opposite side of the Smith River from the campground in the the MIll Creek watershed.

Van Pelt also wrote that a couple of limbs extend almost 70 feet. Thats intriguing because on American Forests champion list, Lost Monarch's average entire crown width was 80 feet from side to side. It may remain on the American Forest champion list for quite some time, because there are multiple larger new redwood discoveries we will not be nominating. Supposedly, champs on the list should be measured every 10 years, but I do not think that's going to happen for Lost Monarch. But AF will probably keep it listed rather than leave a void.

This has been a challenging redwood for me to photograph. Thick vegetation blocks the view from almost every side as far as the base goes. My first encounter with Lost Monarch spent more time photographing British Soldier lichens on the trunk. The lichens were fascinating. Here was one fo the largest organisms on earth with a little army of lichens marching up the trunk. In fact, I was so distracted by the lichens I walked away without realzing this was Lost Monarch, until several months later.

The photo below was taken April Fools Day, 2012. The gap of separation between the trunks is easy to spot about 25 ft. to 30 ft. up.

 

 

Coast Redwood Lost Monarch in Grove of Titans

 

 

The next photo below was taken on October 4, 2008. Looking across a marsh that author Richard Preston described as a grassy glade. This view is framed by bigleaf maple on the left, coast redwood on the right, and vine maples below. You can see a hint of red autumn leaves on a few of the vine maples. The gap between the trunks is even more evident in this image.

 

 

Coast Redwood Lost Monarch full canopy view across marsh